Customer engagement is the emotion, interaction and attention that is captured by businesses. Fully-engaged customers are reliably proven to increase the revenue of a company. In fact, it is arguably more important to keep your customer base engaged than it is to try and bring in more customers - though this depends on the type of business.
Technology has truly paved a more effective way to engage customers. Here are the four big ones in chronological order.
The indoor LED screen became big commercially towards the end of the 1980s, early 90s. It became evident that they drew more attention than printed posters. At first, the novelty made them eye-catching, and they give the business an air of cutting-edge and professionalism. Even still to this day though, they remain equally as captivating.
Visual LED screens are much more versatile than print as a form of communication. It isn’t just about the effectiveness of its colours and brightness, but that it can be updated frequently. You can rotate different adverts on it depending on the changes in demographic through the day. For example, 3:30pm when children are leaving school may be an advert directed to them, then at 5:30pm upon rush hour, another may be aimed at the working man.
Real-time support and chatbots
A huge part of running a successful business is of course customer service. This is the time to keep customers engaged when they may be having problems or a poor experience - this needs to be turned around ASAP!
Technological progression led to a digitalisation of customer service in many industries. This means that you’re more likely now to send a text than to call a hotline with a long waiting time. Real-time support means customers can have their issues resolved at the actual time of the issue. This is common with internet banking.
Chat bots have been developed to a degree than they often appear indistinguishable from a person in the early stages of conversation. They are programmed to understand the conversation content and give help or direct them to resources accordingly.
There are also screen-sharing options for the customer service helper to actually see what the customer does on their device. This level of closeness between the business and customer is great for building loyalty and trust.
Internet of Things
IoT is essentially the computerization of things that once were not. Cars, factories, washing machines, even shoes… Suddenly everything is now connected to the internet. You can now shout in your kitchen for Alexa to tell you what the weather is going to be like tomorrow in Glasgow. Well, you likely already know the answer, but nevertheless you can have a computer to shout their answer back to you.
The Amazon Echo is an interesting one. Many customers feel like they are communicating with an utterly sincere, helpful device that is on their side. There is no doubt though that it persistently tries to direct you into paying for more Amazon services with its questions of if you want to upgrade. Customer engagement is through the roof, and you are now 10 feet deep in the Amazonian ecosystem.
Regardless of whether IoT crosses the line into being slightly disturbing, there is no doubt that it is a driving for currently for customer engagement. There’s certainly some utility to your fridge knowing when your milk is near the bottom, and processes an order for more milk on your behalf.
Artificial intelligence is where we are at right now. It goes hand-in-hand with many of the above, too. It underpins the development in chatbot capabilities as well as IoT. Predicting patterns is perhaps its biggest asset in this regard. Chatbots predict your problem by processing your sentences, just like many thermostats are now taking in your historical temperatures to try and predict your future decisions so you don’t have to.
Its utility in producing personalized content is astounding. Algorithms that determine the order and content of your Facebook feed is profoundly accurate in knowing what you want to see. Youtube is the same with its suggestions.
This is the nature of how important customer engagement is, yet how it has changed too. Now, there is an attention economy. Customer engagement is essentially to keep the user on your service for as long as possible, at all costs. There is a controversial aspect, as we are being blatantly manipulated. Well, we always were, but now it has gotten personal…
Technology is always praised for its advancements in products. New accessories in cars, faster smartphones, lighter laptops. What tends to get slightly less attention is technology’s role in customer engagement for businesses. Digital marketing is no longer a potential use for a company, it is literally the very fabric for most.
Not that it is a competition between the two, but product technology is usually driven by R&D teams of large corporations, and automation has lots of large upfront costs. It is the customer engagement side of technology that is truly attainable and beneficial to business owners.
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